Chat platform Discord has announced it is following Epic Games into the digital distribution business, opening up its in-house Discord Store to all - and undercutting its rivals by taking a 10 percent cut.
When people think digital distribution of PC games, they primarily think of Valve's Steam. As one of the original dedicated distribution platforms, by far the largest, and one of few offering full cross-platform support, it's only natural that Steam is the first name that comes to mind. For developers, though, selling via Steam comes with a cost: 30 percent of all revenue after taxes. It's this cut that has driven Epic Games into launching its own Games Store, open to all developers, in which it promises to take a mere 12 percent cut.
Now, chat platform Discord is getting in on the act - and in doing so has one-upped Epic by offering to take a mere 10 percent of the proceeds. 'Why does it cost 30% to distribute games,' the company asks rhetorically in its announcement, attributed to 'Chief Robot Hamster Nelly'. 'Is this the only reason developers are building their own stores and launchers to distribute games? Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018. After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share.
'So, starting in 2019, we are going to extend access to the Discord store and our extremely efficient game patcher by releasing a self-serve game publishing platform. No matter what size, from AAA to single person teams, developers will be able to self publish on the Discord store with 90 percent revenue share going to the developer. The remaining 10 percent covers our operating costs, and we’ll explore lowering it by optimising our tech and making things more efficient.'
Discord isn't exactly a trailblazer in setting its revenue share so firmly in favour of the developer: Indie-focused Itch.io defaults to a 90-10 split in the developer's favour, just as Discord, with developers being able to alter the split as they wish - including to set it so that the developer receives a 100 percent share of all revenue.
Discord has confirmed that the third-party access to the Discord Store will be opened some time next year, though hasn't set a firm launch date, with tight connection to the company's existing communications services. More information is available from the official announcement.